BARNESVILLE — Barnesville High’s players and coaches probably saw Nick Miller in their dreams Friday night.
It was probably more like nightmares, however.
Shenandoah High’s talented senior back put a major thumping on the Shamrocks in their home debut, rushing for 215 yards, adding 52 yards receiving and scoring all six touchdowns to lead the unbeaten, state-ranked Zeps to a 42-0 shutout of Barnesville.
Miller carried the ball 23 times and caught four passes, scoring three times in the opening quarter alone to stake Coach Jesse Wells’ squad to an early lead en route to its fourth win of the campaign. Shenandoah entered Week 4 atop the OHSAA Division VI, Region 23 computer ratings; ninth in the initial AP Division VI state poll and second in the OVAC Class 2A standings.
"The kids played hard; Nick ran hard and the line blocked real well," said Shenandoah’s Wells matter-of-factly after the win. "Nick is fantastic, and having the ability to rest him on defense really gives us an advantage."
"This could be the best offensive line we’ve ever had at Shenandoah," he said, referring to the group of senior Cash Presnell, juniors Tanner Brown and Dalton Rice, and sophomores Easton Hitchens and Logan Waers. "The kids put in a lot of time in the off-season and it’s paying off right now."
"We played extremely well defensively, but we’ve been doing that all year," said Wells, who could find only one negative in the "W".
"We’re still getting a lot of penalties, so we’ve got to clean that up," he related after his team was ticketed nine times for 85 yards.
Shenandoah (4-0) wasted no time taking control, with Miller ripping off a 65-yard TD run on the second play from scrimmage and then adding the two-point conversion run for an 8-0 lead at the 11:13 mark of the opening quarter.
A 29-yard reverse pass from sophomore Kendal Sherman to senior Austin McPeek helped set up the next score by the Zeps — a 29-yard TD sprint by Miller. The two-point pass was incomplete, but the Zeps’ lead was now 14-0 at the 6:53 mark of round one.
SHS converted Barnesville’s first turnover — a fumble recovered by senior Clint Wikander — into six more before quarter’s end when Miller bulled over from three yards out and then walked into the end zone for the bonus markers and a 22-0 spread with 3:18 showing on the first quarter clock.
Another Shamrock giveaway — this time a pass intercepted by Wikander — enabled the Zeps to extend the lead to 28-0 before halftime, with Miller tallying from two yards out with 5:08 remaining.
The visitors widened the gap to 36-0 at the 8:25 mark of the third period, with junior QB Boone Jones teaming with Miller for a 17-yard scoring toss and then hitting junior Chase Chicwak for the two-point conversion.
Jones and Miller hooked up again for the game’s final points, this time on a 35-yard screen pass with 8:32 to play, and although the PAT run was stopped short, the damage had been done.
Barnesville’s first-year coach Blake Allen said things got away from his team quickly due to the turnovers.
"Honestly, it was the mistakes in the first half that cost us," said Allen. "We did some good things, but kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We put the ball on the ground three times and we’re too young to keep giving teams free chances. Our margin for error is already to small to do that.
"Defensively, we were in the right spots...we just have to make the tackles," he added.
Shenandoah finished with a huge 442-54 edge in total yards, with the Zeps collecting 264 on the ground and 178 through the air. The ‘Rocks (1-3) managed just 35 rushing yards and 19 passing.
NEXT — Both teams are at home Friday - Shenandoah against Cameron (WV) and Barnesville against River View. Kick-off at both sites is set for 7 p.m.